PLEDGE NOW
The Conclave Begins: Picking A Pope

The cardinals sit down in Rome. The conclave begins. We look at the politics and prayer of choosing a new pope.

From left, US Cardinals Justin Francis Rigali, Donald Wuerl, Timothy Dolan, Francis George and Roger Mahony leave the North American College to go to the Vatican's Domus Sanctae Martae, the Vatican hotel where the cardinals stay during the conclave, in Rome, Tuesday March 12, 2013. (AP)

From left, US Cardinals Justin Francis Rigali, Donald Wuerl, Timothy Dolan, Francis George and Roger Mahony leave the North American College to go to the Vatican’s Domus Sanctae Martae, the Vatican hotel where the cardinals stay during the conclave, in Rome, Tuesday March 12, 2013. (AP)

Today it’s on.  The cardinals in their conclave in the Vatican in Rome.  In the Sistine Chapel, no less, where Michelangelo’s painted vision of God reaches out on the ceiling to touch the hand of mortal man.

The cardinals gathered to choose a pope.  It has been a fraught month for the Catholic Church.  The first pope in centuries to step aside alive.  A swirl of scandal around the Vatican and beyond.  Deep issues still for devout Catholics and for doubters.

This hour, On Point:  at the intersection of history, politics and prayer, we look at the cardinals in their conclave in Rome.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Rachel Donadio, Rome bureau chief for the New York Times. (@racheldonadio)

Thomas Reese, Jesuit priest and director of the Religion and Public Policy Program at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University. (@thomasreesesj)

Dennis Coday, editor of the National Catholic Reporter. (@dcoday)

Kathleen Cummings, associate Professor of American Studies and director of the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism at the University of Notre Dame.

From Tom’s Reading List

CNN “The Sistine Chapel is ready. The new pope’s clothes are laid out. Now it’s up to the cardinals. The work to elect a successor to retired Pope Benedict XVI begins in earnest Tuesday, with a morning Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica. The service — open to the public — will be the last public event featuring the 115 cardinals who will choose the new spiritual leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.”

National Catholic Reporter “As has been well reported by Joshua McElwee and John Allen, there are currently no frontrunners in the papal election. This could easily change in the next few days before the conclave starts, but it is surprising granted that it has been almost three weeks since Pope Emeritus Benedict announced his resignation. One would think that at least a couple of frontrunners would have surfaced by now.”

The Washington Post “The cardinals could pick a pope on the very first ballot on the first afternoon of the conclave, though that would be surprising; in recent conclaves, popes have been selected after at least two days of balloting.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
May 28, 2015
Protesters congregate in front of city hall Tuesday, May 26, 2015, in Cleveland. Members of about 40 churches are protesting the acquittal of a white patrolman charged in the deaths of two unarmed black motorists with a march through downtown Cleveland. (AP)

The new Cleveland standard of American policing. Will it stop abuse? Will it get the job done?

May 28, 2015
Ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi raises his hands as he sits behind glass in a courtroom, in a converted lecture hall in the national police academy in an eastern Cairo suburb, Egypt, Saturday, May 16, 2015. (AP)

Sentenced to death in Egypt for espionage, respected academic Emad Shahin joins us with a big take on Egypt, ISIS and America’s response.

RECENT
SHOWS
May 27, 2015
The logo from the new film, "(Dis)Honesty," which is also the logo for the Dishonesty Project. (The Dishonesty Project)

Are we natural born liars? Is it human to lie? Inside the new documentary, ” (Dis)Honesty: The Truth About Lies.”

 
May 27, 2015
Two persons are reflected in the FIFA logo at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, Wednesday, May 27, 2015. Swiss prosecutors opened criminal proceedings into FIFA's awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, only hours after seven soccer officials were arrested Wednesday pending extradition to the U.S. in a separate probe of "rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted" corruption. (AP)

Top officials at soccer’s international governing body FIFA arrested in Switzerland today on charges of racketeering, wire fraud, money laundering and bribery. We’ll dig in.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
A Former Bike Gang Member Explains "The Life"
Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Larry called in from Lawrenceburg, KY and told us he was once a member of the Pagan’s Motorcycle Club, a mid-Atlantic biker gang. He didn’t sugar coat the facts as he explained the draw of the brotherhood and what makes the outlaw motorcycle corner the underworld go round.

More »
1 Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: May 15, 2015
Friday, May 15, 2015

We cancel a few hours and suddenly all of you get convinced of a global radio conspiracy! Plus, dragon zoos.

More »
1 Comment
 
Caller: ‘It Doesn’t Always Turn Out Okay’
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

One caller shares her own story of an extremely premature birth. Her daughter, born at 22 1/2 weeks in 2012, was taken off life support after seven days.

More »
Comment